Friday, August 30, 2013

My new love: Bonny Doon Banana Slug Roussanne

Bonny Doon Vineyard has had an interesting time in the last few years.  Going from a mega-company to a small producer (selling off its Cardnial Zin and Big House brands in the process - you can now get Big House as a wine-in-a-bag-in-a-box!) that is trying to focus on terroir in their wines (vin d'effort vs vin de terroir - vin d'effort expressing the winemakers intentions, vin de terroir expressing the characteristics of the site where the grapes were grown and the qualities of the grapes themselves).

I'm not sure where the 2010 Banana Slug Roussanne lies on the vin d'effort vs vin de terroir scale.  No, it does not contain banana slugs -- the name derives from the mascot of UC Santa Cruz, where 100% of the profits from this wine go. It is a fruity, off-sweet wine with not a whole lot of minerality, but it is incredibly delicious.  The nose reeks of citrus and bright, sweet flowers (almost lily of the valley).  The flavor is as I said, just off-sweet, and is fruity and citrusy and creamy and beautiful - a nice change from my normal go to white, a grassy sauvignon blanc (which I still love, but choices are wonderful).  The finish is spectacular and long; there's something about it that reminds me of a really good German hefeweisen - one you'd get at a German restaurant, from the tap.  It's eminently quaffable, and begs for rich, delicious food to go with it (runny french cheese, good charcuterie, Thanksgiving dinner).

Only 600 cases were made of this wonderful wine, and I have two of them, so if you want to partake in this delectable drink, get some soon.  Too good.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Inukshuk, pt. 1

When we drove to the Arctic Circle and beyond to Inuvik, we discovered a wonderful and welcoming Inuit tradition: the Inukshuk.  They dot the landscape - figures of unworked stone that traditionally mean "you are on the right path."

Our Inukshuk near the Dempster Highway

We absolutely loved this wonderful, welcoming, helpful, and friendly idea, and we decided that we'd like to create a large Inukshuk outside our house - to let people know that they are welcome here, and are on the right path. We do this in the full respect of the Inuit people, and hope that our Inukshuk will be seen as a tribute to their wonderful, welcoming culture. We will be working on this as we find appropriate rocks -- and we'll probably use rock epoxy to keep it together considering how some people around here like to tip over art and sculpture (and gravestones, ugh). Wish us luck!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The thing about Fight Club...

Here's a pretty random post.  Now, I enjoy the movie Fight Club.  It's stylish, got a great soundtrack, good acting, good plot twists.  It is filled to the brim with Gen-X angst about the meaning of life, the meaning of being a man, and the meaning of IKEA furniture.

Tyler's arch enemy.
The movie posits two options; one where you are consumerist cog in a machine that is designed to just perpetuate more consumption, the other where you totally reject consumerism and become part of something larger.

And here comes my problem with the movie.

Actually, my problem isn't with the movie itself (well, I could go into how it is sort of odd that only men are allowed/need to fight and in the end are portrayed as easily led by the nose, but).  It's with how many people interpret the movie.  I know many friends who think Tyler Durden is right on.  That everything he says is right.  Now, I get what they're saying to some extent - consumerism and the mindless purchase of "stuff" is a serious problem, and people need to get value out of their lives beyond "stuff."

But what I don't hear from these friends is the fact that Tyler is setting up just another system by which people are doing what someone else says they should do - where they are just (really) mindless cogs in a machine.  He's just replacing one type of servitude for another - and the men who follow him are blind and more than a little gullible.  It seems to me that the movie (and its more evident in the book) is saying that Tyler is no better than the forces of consumerism that he's trying to replace.

So when people tell me how much they love the movie and how great the ideas that are presented in it are, I want to shake them and say - if you don't want to just be a consumer, then... don't!  Do your shopping at Goodwill! Ask your friends if you can borrow something you need!  You want blue glass plates with little bubbles proving they are handmade?  GO FRIGGIN LEARN HOW TO BLOW GLASS.  Make something with your hands.  Build something.  Learn to fix your car.  I never saw someone who knew how to fix their own car wondering if they were enough of a man (or woman).  Want to fight?  Go ahead.  But if you want to feel like you're doing something worthwhile... even if you know you're going to die someday, that you're not a special snowflake, that you're still the same decaying matter as everything else... make something. Figure things out for yourself.

Just don't stop doing what society tells you to to start doing what some jackass tells you to.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Watch this. Just watch it.

This is going to be a short, quick entry.  Go watch this movie now.  Then make everyone you know watch it.  Just remember, the US has more prisoners both per capita, and in total, than any other country in the world.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Coffee table, pt.1

So we managed to get a pretty decent oak coffee table for 30 bucks.  Of course, I'm not happy to leave well enough alone, so I'm going to be making it into something a little.. different.
The table now
The plan is, (and this is going to take a while, and will be a bunch of posts by the time I'm done), removing the tabletop and stripping the varnish, bleaching the wood to remove the stain and make it more blond, and then using thermo-sensitive film (the stuff in a mood ring) of several temperature sensitivities to make a sort of decoupage on the top; we're also going to get the legs replaced with something cool by Fillmore Metal Crafters.

And what am I going to put on here?  Well, it'll look sorta like this:
Yes, that's a Mucha inspired April O'Neil and lots of other nerdy references.  Here's a color coded one; the lightest color is the one that is sensitive to the highest temperatures, etc.
I'm not sure when I'm going to get to this, but, this is my start.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Steampunk house numbers

Just a quick post.. I was at Menards and saw a couple of different kinds of house numbers, and I thought... you know, it'd be pretty cool to combine those and get a gear for the 0. I was lucky enough to have a friend with a rusted up old bike that had a gear exactly the right size.  A little bit of work taking the gear off later, and  I screwed our new steampunky house numbers to the wall.
 Mission accomplished.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lightly steampunking our chandliers.

So when we got the house there were quite a few chandeliers.  Now, the one in our dining room is original to the house and is beautiful; the ones in the living room are Walmart specials with plastic "candles" and flame shaped lights.
Not exactly our style.

Since we're going with a retro-future/art nouveau/art deco/steampunk thing, the octopus-ish shape of the actual brass didn't bother me; but the (much more brown with age than the ones shown above) "candles" and flame lights... ugh.  Fortunately, the tubes happened to be standard 3/4", which happens to be a size that copper pipe is available in.  I took one of the plastic "candles" off, measured it, got a 6' copper pipe from Fleet Farm, and cut 20 of these little beauties (pipe cutters are cheap and easy to use):
Cat not included.
In order to make them fit correctly I had to ream out the burr made on the inside of the pipes by the cutter, which I did with my good camping knife (good steel doesn't have much of a problem with copper).

Then all I had to do was take off all the light bulbs and plastic "candles", put the new copper pipe where the plastic used to be, and replace the bulbs with odd, interesting, period-style bulbs (a couple of the ones I'm currently using aren't as period as I'd like, but as period bulbs are 'spensive I'm dealing with the cheapies for now).  Here's the result:

Now, I'd still like to replace the hanging chain with something older/heavier/more nautical/bronze, and I really want to cover the awful plastic power cord with fabric to make it look older too, but it's not a bad start.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back at it

So we're mostly settled in at the new house, many things in life have settled down (but not everything, of course, or it wouldn't be life, would it?), and I've decided I need to get back to blogging our projects and  thoughts on design and other things.  I've got a couple of projects I'm working on right now that I'll do posts and take pictures of and keep you informed of the progress on (and hopefully that'll keep me motivated to finish 'em!)  What projects you ask?

  • Remaking brass "candelabras" into something more steampunk and (hopefully) a little less tacky
    Walmart special.
  • Creating a steampunk entertainment center starting with the bottom of an old treadle sewing machine
  • Making a lifesize TARDIS to keep our dvd's in
  • Using thermo-sensitive film to create a nerdy art nouveau top for our coffee table
  • Attaching our newly acquired, original art deco movie theater seats (formerly of the Cosmo Theatre) to a carpeted base for more awesome living room seating. 
And I'm sure there will be more projects coming up- and I'll also post our house numbers (which I'm pretty proud of).

More coming soon...